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I first met Laura Cross, Founder of Inventors and Makers a few months ago when my children attended her Inventing & Film Making course. Laura’s classes are unique and a wonderful way of bringing out the creator and collaborator in children so I invited her to write a guest blog to give fellow West London parents some quick tips for replicating some of the ways she brings out creativity in children during her after school workshops and holiday camps in Ealing.

In 1900, creative workers made up about 10% of the workforce; this figure is now closer to 30%. Creativity is one of the most important skills to bring to the future workforce. However, it is increasingly being squeezed out of the school classroom as other pressures on testing and data take centre stage.

Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something new. Many children think creativity means drawing, but you can be creative in writing or even  maths! You can nurture your child’s creativity at home by getting them involved in creative and innovative activities.

We’ve pulled together five examples that we’ve seen work really well at Inventors & Makers workshops. There’ll be something for you to try, whether you have 15 minutes or even several hours to spare.

1. Complete the Drawing

There’s plenty of ideas for these online, but feel free to borrow the image shown. The idea is that you give your child the lines printed on an otherwise blank sheet of paper and tell them to get creative to complete the drawing.

This works even better if you do one yourself too, without looking at each other’s, so you can compare how you each creatively interpreted the lines afterwards. You can even take a look through some examples completed by others once you’ve finished to give them ideas for next time. Children tend to improve at these the more they do.

Equipment: Paper, pencil, (colours optional)

Time: 10-15 minutes

Best for: Low tech quick activity, appealing to most children

2. Dream up a robot


Ask your child what their least favourite thing to do at home is. Maybe it’s tidying their room or doing their homework. Then sit down together to create a dream robot to do the job for them.

We did this at an Inventors & Makers class recently and the children came up with some fascinatingly innovative ideas. Again it’s best if you do this with them or have them work with a sibling or friend, as collaborative creativity is always much more fun for everyone. Remember not to make too many suggestions, but instead  ask questions like “Hmm…but how does the robot know what your homework is?” As you ask questions, they can develop their design into a final dream robot. Perhaps they can present it to another family member or create a physical model of the robot.

Time: 30-60 minutes

Equipment: Paper, pencil (ideally a large A1 sheet of paper)

Best for: Spending a bit of time creating together, appealing to most children

3. Build a Marble Run

With some old cardboard, tape and marbles, kids can go wild creating their own marble runs. Perhaps take a look together at some images or videos to get them started with ideas. They can get really creative as they decide on other things around the house they could use such as wooden train tracks, building blocks or even Lego. Remember to ensure they construct their run from the bottom up and test and fix it at every stage of the build.


This is a more fun activity to do with friends or siblings as they get excited about adding parts to their run. They could spend hours on it!

Time: 1-3 hours

Equipment: marbles, tape, scissors, scrap materials (cardboard, toilet/kitchen rolls, plastic cups etc.), train track, blocks, and anything else they want to incorporate!

Best for: A rainy day when you have some time to spare, appealing to most children once they get started.4

If your child prefers more physical activities, perhaps they could come up with their own dance routine. This can appeal to boys and girls if you give them some inspiration to get them started that suits their own music tastes (hip hop, pop etc.). There’s plenty of examples of routines on YouTube to give them some ideas. Let them choose their favourite song and explain they should choreograph in small segments from the start, then leave them alone!

They might want some privacy to do this at first, but putting on a show at the end allows them to share when they are ready. Alternatively, perhaps they can teach you the routine afterwards – always good for a laugh!

Time: 1-3 hours

Equipment: something to play music

Best for: Children with an interest in music, but could be fun for all children if you give them the challenge


4. Choreograph a dance 

If your child prefers more physical activities, perhaps they could come up with their own dance routine. This can appeal to boys and girls if you give some inspiration to get them started that suits their own music tastes (hip hop, pop etc.). There’s plenty of examples of routines on YouTube to give them ideas. Let them choose their favourite song and explain they should choreograph in small segments from the start, then leave them alone!

They might want some privacy to do this at first, but putting on a show at the end allows them to share when they are ready. Alternatively, perhaps they can teach you the routine afterwards – always good for a laugh!

Time: 1-3 hours

Equipment: something to play music

Best for: Children with an interest in music, but could be fun for all children if you give them the challenge

“You have to be creative to be an artist, but you don’t have to be an artist to be creative.”

5. Shoot a movie

Shooting a short film during one of our recent holiday workshops

If you have an iPad or iPhone* they can use, children can create their own short film using the iMovie app. You might give them a brief such as: advertisement for something, news report, documentary about something they are interested in.

iMovie has some templates for creating movie trailers which make it easy to create something that looks great. If they are feeling ambitious, they could create a new video project from scratch and play around with the different features. If you have a basic understanding of iMovie you can help them get started, but it is very intuitive to use if you’re happy to let them play around with it for a while. You could even finish with a family premiere screening

This is a nice activity for children to do with friends as they’ll usually need at least one camera person and one person on screen.

Time: 1-3 hours

Equipment: iPad or iPhone*

Best for: Tech or movie fans, appealing to all children if the brief matches their interests.

*There are alternative video apps for android

If you want to get your child more involved in creative activities with a focus on problem solving and creativity, take a look at our Inventors & Makers classes – for a fun children’s activity in West London.